Recently, China launched a Long March-5B Y2 rocket that put its first space station module into orbit. While China hailed the launch as completely successful, it turned out that something went wrong. The rocket’s 21-ton core stage is expected to cause an uncontrolled re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere in the next few days.
Uncontrolled re-entry can cause debris to fall on populated areas that pose a risk to property and live on the ground. The missile should fall to a specific point in the ocean, which is common with discarded missiles. Instead of desorbing as planned, the rocket continues to orbit the planet uncontrollably.
Authorities say the missile is expected to fall back to Earth in the next few days. Astronomer Jonathan McDowell, who tracks objects orbiting the earth, said it was unacceptable to re-enter an object in an uncontrolled manner by current standards. He also pointed out that nothing more than 10 tons has been deliberately left in orbit uncontrolled since 1990. The Chinese missile is 100 feet long and 16 feet wide.
According to McDowell, if it falls out of orbit, it could burn up completely in the Earth’s atmosphere. However, there is a chance that large pieces of debris could survive re-entry. Most of the planet is made up of oceans, so the missile is more likely to hit water, but it could threaten inhabited areas.
Holger Krag, head of ESA’s space security program office, said it was difficult to assess the amount of surviving mass and the number of fragments that could potentially be created without knowing the design of the rocket. A reasonable rule of thumb, however, is that around 20 to 40 percent of their original dry matter could survive re-entry. The missile has the potential to hit a massive part of the earth, with major cities within the impact zone, including New York, Madrid and Beijing, among others.
Donnez votre avis et abonnez-vous pour plus d’infos
Vidéo du jour: